Is the lo-wash movement ‘hair’ to stay?

Jazmine Duncan, Strategic Content Manager
May 20, 2022

Consumers are looking fro’ healthier hair 

Traditionally, we all thought that frequent hair washing was the answer to shinier, healthier and cleaner hair. As a result, many of us have grown accustomed to washing our hair 3-5 times a week. However, research has shown that this is a myth and consumers are starting to catch on. Washing our hair more frequently than needed actually does more harm than good by stripping away natural oils and encouraging product build-up. To combat this, more consumers are joining the lo-wash movement. In fact, the proportion of our bees who only wash their hair once a week has grown over the past 12 months. 

*Based on Streetbees data in DE and the US.

 While you might think fewer washes equates to fewer hair care purchases, this isn’t the case. Consumers who wash their hair once a week are more likely to pamper their hair during these occasions with more luxurious, long-lasting products. Instead of only opting for shampoo and conditioner, they’re carving out time for masks, treatments and serums to boost health and shine. This presents a great opportunity for brands to provide a premiumised range of different hair care products. 

Read this next - Prestige is power: how to grow your beauty portfolio

Let’s look at the driving demand space behind these lo-wash moments to help you position your brand. 

From our 4.5 million bees, who are constantly sharing their real-time habits and attitudes with us, we’ve found that the ‘Focused Dryness Relief’ demand space over-indexes here - a space which has grown from 2% in Q1 2021 to 7% in Q1 2022. This is a weekday occasion, where consumers are looking to swap dry, dull hair for hydrated, healthier locks.  

In this occasion, we‘ve seen an increase in the proportion of consumers opting to use more intensive products, such as hair masks and treatments. On the flip side, products that only serve a temporary use, like hair gels and combing creams, have fallen out of favour. 

*Based on Streetbees data in DE and the US.

So how can you grow your hair care brand in this space?

1. Diversify your portfolio to rise to the occasion

Consumers who wash their hair daily don’t tend to have the time, patience or budget to have a total hair care routine. However, those who wash their hair only once a week need the results to last a full seven days, so they tend to use a range of higher-quality products to achieve this. The key here is to prolong hair health. In fact, the proportion of our bees who said ‘to improve hair health’ was the main reason they’d changed their hair care routine in the last six months rose from 29% in Q1 2021 to 46% in Q1 2022. 

Consider creating a range of products tailored specifically to once-a-week washing needs - with a hair health kit, for example. Leverage the ritualistic angle and build an occasion out of this weekly event by opting for products that feel more luxurious and enriching. 

*Based on Streetbees data in DE and the US. 

Brand spotlights - ‘don’t mousse with me’

Olaplex offers a luxurious range of hair care products, from daily serums to weekly treatments and masks, all specifically designed to have a long-lasting effect on the hair. 

​​​​​​ Bondi Boost has created a Hair Wellness Starter Kit, which they recommend people with dry hair use once a week to banish their hair blues. 

2. Partner with category experts to drive education

Hairdressers are the golden ticket to category expertise and are a great way to build trust with consumers when it comes to new products. Many brands now have mass and premium versions of their products, which are endorsed by hairdressers e.g. L’Oréal Elseve and Kerastase. As reducing hair washing to only once a week is a very new territory for some consumers, introducing support from trusted experts could go a long way in boosting appeal. 

Explore partnerships with hairdressers or hair salons to educate consumers on this new way of washing. Learn from other categories, like beauty and oral care, that focus on partnerships to drive expansion and leverage the audience these experts bring with them to grow appeal. 

*Based on Streetbees data in DE and the US. 

Brand spotlights - ‘it takes two to tangle’

Tresemmé, a hair care brand famed for partnering with professionals, has a Day 2 range of products designed for use in between less-frequent washes.  

​​​​​​ Bumble and Bumble is a fast-growing, luxury hair care brand, which was founded by a hairdresser and offers a ‘hairdresser’ range of masks and serums for consumers.


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